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“A love and an admiration for the fine arts, and a due appreciation of their merits, tend to improve the mind, and beget in it the principles of good taste, order, and refinement, which soon exhibit their influence in the increasing excellence of every thing that we do, contrive, or execute. These help, also, when duly cultivated, to augment our pleasures and our happiness. It has been said by an eminent writer, that the essence of a sine art is erpression, and that its end is pleasure; and this is true. It is a truth which all within the hearing of my voice will feel and acknowledge, when we come to the illustration of its principles. For example: there is a painting on silk, representing the implements employed in our various pursuits, displayed in the form of a circle, and united by an oaken wreath. This design, as you all know, is emblematical of the Trades' Union. his then is fine art, (and a noble specimen it is too.) What, you will ask, is its utility, and how can it inspire pleasure ? Can you, as mechanics and artists, look upon that banner without being reminded of your united strength 2 Can you contemplate that proud emblem of yeur union and your power, without feeling the secret emotions of pride and pleasure steal into your bosoms, and throb through your hearts? Can you witness the close alliance of your interests and your welfare, as there represented, and not feel your mutual sympathies,
and friendship, and love, warmed, and elevated, and
strengthened And can you feel all this, and say that the picture is of no utility ? that it imparts no pleasure? “I am aware we shall be told, that republican governments are unpropitious to the cultivation and encouragement of the arts—especially the fine arts. This has long been a fashionable doctrine; but it is as false as sashionable. It is a libel on popular governments. When we demand the evidence, we are confidently pointed to the page of history, and referred to the patronage and facilities afforded to artists by arbitrary governments—to the munificent pensions and donations granted by the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Augustuses of Rome, and the Louises of France. Well, I am quite willing that history should decide the question—that it should be the sole arbiter in the case. In what part of the world, then, at what period, and under what form of government, did the elegant and useful arts first spring up, and flourish most 2 Was it on the borders of the Nile, or the banks of the Euphrates—or under the Memphian or Babylonian despots Not so—no, not so. But on the barren soil of Attica, the land of Codrus and of Miltiades—within the stormy republics of Greece ' “We date the decline of the arts in Greece from the decline of her liberty. For the proof, we invite you to compare the state of the arts of the Alexandrian with that of the Periclean age. When we come down to the Augustan age—the proud era of Maecenas—'tis imitation all. Not an artist stands forth in the conscious pride of originality. All—all are content to copy the Grecian masters. It is true, the fine arts experienced a partial resuscitation under the princes of the Flavian house, but with them expired the arts of Rome; and when Constantine the Great wished to adorn an arch at Byzantium, he was obliged to tear down one of Trajan's, at Rome, for sculptures. But we are not confined to ancient history alone for proofs and illustrations. The history of our own country, within the last half century, has furnished ample testimony, that not only mechanical genius, but the intellectual powers generally, are more universally developed in free, than in despotic governments. Where is the nation that can point to such illustrious names in war—in eloquence—in philosophy—in astronomy—in mechanics, and in painting, as those of Washington, and Henry, and Franklin, and Rittenhouse, and Fulton, and West ? “Would you enjoy the fame of those illustrious men 2 Then follow their example, and imitate their virtues. Like them, be diligent—be honest—be firm—be inde
fatigable. Pursue knowledge with a diligence that never tires, and with a perseverance that never falters; and honour, and glory, and happiness, will be your reward | You have no longer an excuse why you should not prosper and flourish, both as a body, and as individuals. You know your rights, and, consequently, feel your strength. If mortification and defeat should attend you, blame not your fellow men—the cause will be found within yourselves., Neither blame your country—the fault will not be her's No—Land of Genius–Land of Refuge—Land of the Brave and Free!—thy sons have no cause to reproach thee! All thy deserving children find favour in thine eyes, support on thine arm, and protection in thy bosom'
[From Good's Book of Nature.] ON LEGIBLE LANGUAGE, IMITATIVE AND SYMBOLICAL.
The subject of the vocal organs, and the scale of tones and terms to which they give rise, which have just passed under review, led us progressively into an inquiry concerning the nature of the voice itself, and the origin of systematic or articulate language.
Systematic or articulate language, however, as we have already observed, is of two kinds, oral and legible; the one spoken and addressed to the ear, the other penned or printed, and addressed to the eye. It is this last which constitutes the wonderful and important art of writing, and distinguishes civilized man from savage man, as the first distinguishes man in general from the brute creation. The connexion between the two is so close, that although both subjects might, with the most perfect order, find a place in some subsequent part of that comprehensive course of study upon which we have even now but barely entered, I shall immediately follow up the latter for the very reason that I have already touched upon the sormer. It will, moreover, if I mistake not, afford an agreeable variety to our philosophical pursuits; a point which ought no more to be lost sight of in the midst of instruction than in the midst of amusement; and will form an extensive subject for useful refiection when the present series of our labours shall have reached its close.
Written language is of so high an antiquity, that, like the language of the voice, it has been supposed, by a multitude of wise and good men in all ages, to have been a supernatural gift, communicated either at the creation, or upon some special occasion not long afterward. Yet there seems no satisfactory ground for either of these opinions. That it was not com iunicated like oral language at the creation of mankind, appears highly probable, because, first, it by no means possesses the universality which, under such circumstances, we should have reason to expect, and which oral language displays. No tribe or people have ever been found without a tongue; but multitudes without legible characters. Secondly, among the different tribes and nations that do possess it, it is far from evincing that unity or similarity in the structure of its elements which, I have already observed, is to be traced in the elements of speech, and which must be the natural result of an origin from one common source. The system of writing among some nations consists in pictures, or marks, representative of things; among others, in letters or marks symbolical of sounds; while, not unfrequently, the two systems are found in a state of combination, and the characters are partly imitative and partly arbitrary. And, thirdly, there does not seem to be the same necessity for a divine interposition in the formation of written characters as in that of oral language: ...The latter existing, the former might be expected to follow naturally in some shape or other, from that imitative and inventive genius which belongs to the nature of man, and especially in a civilized state. And, as we endeavour to penetrate the obscurity of past ages, we meet with a few occasional beacons which point out to us something of the means by which this wonderful art appears to have been first devised, and
something of the countries where it appears to have been first practised.
But an exception is made by many learned and excellent men in favour of one species of writing: namely, that of alphabetic characters, which is conceived to be so far superior to every other method, as to have demanded and justified a special interposition of the Deity at some period of the creation ; and, by turning to the Pentateuch, a few texts, we are told, are to be met with, which seem to intimate that the knowledge of letters was first communicated to Moses by God himself, and that the Decalogue was the earliest specimen of alphabetic writing.
Such was the opinion of many of the fathers of the Christian church, and such continues to be the opinion of many able scholars of modern times: as, among the former, St. Cyril, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, Isidore ; and among the latter, Mr. Bryant, Mr. Costard, Mr. Windar.” And it is hence necessary to remark, in addition to what has already been observed. that, so far from arrogating any such invention or communication to himself, Moses uniformly refers to writing, and even to alphabetic writing, as an art as common and as well known in his own day as at present. He expressly appeals to the existence of written records, such as tablets or volumes, and to the more durable art of engraving, as applied to the alphabetic characters. Thus, in the passage in which writing is first mentioned in the Scriptures, “And the Lord said unto Moses, write this for a memorial in a book or table.”f And shortly afterward, “And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Holi N Ess to THE Lord.”f The public seals or signets of oriental princes are well known to be of the same description even in the present day, and to be ornamented with sentences instead of figures or mere ciphers. In the State-Paper Office, at Whitehall, there are still to be seen a number of letters from eastern monarchs to the kings of England, with seals of this very kind, the inscriptions of several of which are copied by Mr. Astle into his valuable work upon the present subject.S
In that sublime and unrivalled poem, the book of Job, which carries intrinsic and, in the present individual's judgment, incontrovertible evidence of its being the work of Moses, we meet with a similar proof of the existence and general cultivation of both these arts, at the period before us; for it is thus the afflicted patriarch exclaims, under a dignified consciousness of his innocence :
ans; for of this country were Job and his companions. And is, as appears from the preceding passages, the Hebrews were generally acquainted with at least two of these arts at the time of their quitting Egypt, it would be reasonable to suppose, even though we had no other ground for such a supposition, that the Egyptians themselves were equally acquainted with them. We have also some reason for believing that alphabetic writing was at this very period common to India ; and either picture writing or emblematic writing to China. The Hindoo Scriptures, if the term may be allowed, consist of four distinct books, called Baids or Beids, Bedas or Vedas, which are conceived to have issued successively from each of the four mouths of Brahma; and of these, Sir William Jones calculates that the second, or Yajur Beda, may have been in existence fifteen hundred and eighty years before the birth of our Saviour, and, consequently, in the century before the birth of Moses; whence, if there be any approach towards correctness in the calculation, the first, or Rik Beda, must at the same epoch have been of very considerable standing. He dates the Institutes of Menu, the son or grandson of Brahma, which he has so admirably translated, at not more than two centuries after the time of Moses ; though he admits that these are the highest periods that can fairly be ascribed to both publications,” and is ready to allow that they did not at first exist in their present form, and were, perhaps, for a long time only traditionary. It is impossible not to wish that the facts upon which this extraordinary scholar builds his premises were established with more certainty, and that the conclusions he deduces from them were supported by inferences and arguments less nicely spun. Admitting the existence of these compositions in any sort of regular shape, on their first appearance, it seems more reasonable to suppose, considering their complicated nature and extent, that they were handed down from age to age in a written form, than that they maintained a precarious life by mere oral tradition; for, if the Egyptians, as appears almost unquestionable, were in possession of legible characters at or before the time of Moses, there seems no solid ground for believing that the Hindoos might not have been in possession of a similar art. The different ages of the kings, or five sacred and most ancient books of the Chinese, have been still less satisfactorily settled than the Vedas of the Hindoos. A very high antiquity, however, is fully established for them by a distinct reference to their existence in the Institutes of Menu; nor perhaps less so in the very simple and antiquated style in which all of them are written, how much soever the characters of any one of these books may differ from any other: and, adopting the chronology of the Septuagint, Mr. Butler ingeniously conjectures that the era of the Chinese empire may be fixed, with some latitude of calculation, at two thousand five hundred years before Christ,+ which would make it nearly a thousand years before the birth of Moses. “The annals of China,” says Dr. Marshman, “taken in their utmost extent, synchronize with the chronology of Josephus, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Septuagint, rather than with that contained in our present copies of the Hebrew text; and, according to the former, the highest pretensions of their own annals leave the Chinese inhabiting the woods, and totally ignorant of agriculture, nearly five hundred years after the deluge.”f The Y-King, or oldest of their sacred books, consists of horizontal lines, entire or cut, which are multiplied and combined into sixty-four different forms or positions. They appear involved in almost impenetrable
* He calculates the first three Vedas to have been composed about 300 years before the Institutes, and about 600 before the Puranas and Itahasas, which he felt convinced were not the production of Vyasa. "Works, vol. ii. p. 303; and iii. p. 4s. folio edition.,,.
* Horae Biblica, yol. ii. p. 179, 2d ed. 8vo. 1807.
t Elements of bhinese"Grammar: with a Preliminary Dis*ertation on the Characters and Colloquial Medium of the Chinese. Scrampore, 4to. 1814.
mystery, as well as antiquity; but, so far as they have been deciphered, they seem, in conjunction with the other sacred books, to contain a summary of patriarchal religion, or that which alone ought to be regarded as the established religion of China; under which the people are taught to know and reverence the Supreme Being, and to contemplate the emperor as both king and pontiff; to whom, exclusively, it belongs to prescribe ceremonies, to decide on doctrines, and, at certain times of the year, to offer sacrifices for the nation.} [To be continued.]
“THE Puma, Couguar, or American Lion, is from four to five feet long, but more commonly of the former size, and has a tail of half that length, which has not, like that of the Lion, a terminating brush of hair; neither has the Puma a mane. Indeed, his name of Lion could only have been given to him by careless or unscientific observers, as his uniform sameness of color is the sole point of resemblance which he has to the king of beasts. He has a small rounded head, a broad and rather obtuse muzzle, and a body which, in proportion, is slenderer and less elevated than that of his more dignified namesake. “The upper parts of his body,” says Mr. Bennet, “are of a bright silvery fawn, the tawny hairs being terminated by whitish tips: beneath and on the inside of the limbs he is nearly white, and more completely so on the throat, chin, and upper lip. The head has an irregular mixture of black and gray; the outside of the ears, especially at the base, the sides of the muzzle from which the whiskers take their origin, and the extremity of the tail, are black.” The sur of the cubs has spots of a darker hue, whiclf are visible only in certain lights, and disappear when the animal is full grown. Both the sexes are of the same colour.
“The Puma was once spread over the whole wide extent of the new world, from Canada to Patagonia. The progress of civilization has, however, circumscribed his range, and has rooted him out in many places. Notwithstanding his size and strength, he is cowardly ; and, like almost all cowards, he is sanguinary. If he find a flock of sheep unprotected, he will destroy the whole, merely that he may enjoy the luxury of sucking their blood. As he possesses much timidity and little swiftness, and frequents the open plains, he generally falls a victim when the hunter pursues him with the unerring lasso.
“In seizing its prey, the Puma crawls softly on its belly through the shrubs and bushes, conceals itself in ditches, or assumes a fawning appearance. As soon, however, as it can reach its victim, it leaps on its back by one bound, and soon rends it to pieces. Molina tells us that, in Chili, where the husbandmen tether their horses in the fields by pairs, the Puma kills and drags one away, and compels the other to follow by occasionally striking it with his paw. All animals are not thus easily vanquished. Asses defend themselves with their heels, and
are often victorious; and cows form themselves into a
circle round their calves, turn their horns towards the
We will this week resume this interesting subject. What we have already published upon it, is but a kind of presace to what may ultimately be expected; for great additional discoveries have recently been made, and are still in progress; and from the great interest which the subject has excited, there is every reason to believe it will not be suffered to rest, till these vast ruins shall have been fully explored. Subjoined is an article read before the New-York Lyceum of Natural History, Sept, 23, 1833, by Samuel Ackerly, M. D. A corresponding member of this society, resident in Tabasco, one of the states in the confederacy of Mexico, has been many years engaged in the investigation of a subject of deep interest to the learned world. Though not connected with the immediate objects of the Lyceum of Natural History, yet the writer of this communication is induced to offer it to the society, as it will make known to the members the labors of one of their foreign associates. The subject to which the attention of the society is now invited belongs to the Antiquities of America, in the central parts of which have been discovered the ruins of an immense city, overgrown by a dense forest of huge trees; on the clearing away of which, large edifices have been brought to light, together with temples and palaces built of hewn stone. Though in a state of great dilapidation, the rubbish has been cleared away from some of them, and their interior explored, exhibiting to the view of the astonished beholder evidences of a nation once existing there, highly skilled in the mechanic arts, and in a state of civilization far beyond any thing that we have been led to believe of the aborigines previous to the discovery of Columbus. The writer's attention has been drawn to this subject by a correspondence with Dr. Francisco Corroy, of Tabasco, who has been many years laboriously investigating these ruins, collecting information, making delineations of the penates, ido's, and priapi found in that region, and the remarkable figures in relief upon the interior wall of these dilapidated temples and palaces. The outline of one of these palaces has been traced by Dr. Corroy, and he states it to be more extensive than the Tuileries of Paris. The information collected by him from personal observation and otherwise has been embodied in a series of letters addressed and dedicated to the writer hereof, and ample enough to make two volumes, which are intended for publication at some future time as he is still engaged in the same interesting researches. To most persons in this country an inquiry into this subject may be considered more curious than useful. And so it may be in relation to our immediate and pressing wants. But may not important results arise from the investigation of such a subject 7 Who can read or hear without astonishment the fact, that in the province of Chaipa in Central America, has been found a city in ruins, formerly constructed of stone, situated on an elewated plain, covered with an umbrageous forest, the growth of hundreds of years, beneath which are still found the mouldering fragments enveloped in the rubbish of their own destruction? This city has been as
certained to extend along the plain in one direction from seven to eight Spanish leagues, which are equal to about thirty English miles. The antiquities of a people inhabiting a city sixty or more miles in circumference, centuries since in a flourishing condition, on the continent of America, cannot sail, when better known and further investigated, to attract the attention of every reflecting mind. The name of this city, so ancient and of such astonishing magnitude, is unknown, though distinguished by writers, and the modern residents of the country, as the RUINs of PALEN QUE, which name is derived from a neighbouring Spanish settlement. Dr. P. F. Cabera, of New Guatemala, the commentator on Captain Del Rio's account of these ruins, has endeavoured to prove that the ancient and true name of the city was HuchurtTAPALLAN. Professor Rafinesque, of Philadelphia, who has also made these ruins a subject of investigation, connected with his History of American nations, denominates the ruined city Otolum, a name still |''." to a stream in the immediate neighbourhood. he reasons for adopting these names will be given in the course of this communication from the authors themselves. The ruins of this ancient city are beginning to attract the attention of the scavans of Europe, and the Geographical Society of Paris has offered a premium of four thousand francs, or eight hundred dollars, for the best account of them. The work of Dr. Corroy will probably merit the reward when made known and forwarded to the society. But he is not yet informed that such a reward has been offered, nor is it known to the society that he has written on the subject. In making this communication the writer has no other design than to call the attention of the American public to this interesting inquiry, by stating the substance of his correspondence with Dr. Corroy on these immense ruins, and insormation collected from other sources relating to the same subject. The friend and correspondent of the writer is a French §." long a resident and practitioner of medicine, of Villa Hermosa, or "l'abasco, on a river of that name, about seventy-five miles from its embouchure in the Gulf of Mexico. Tabasco is also the name of one of the states in the confederacy of Mexico, lying south of Vera Cruz, and east of Guatemala. Dr. Corroy has been many years enthusiastically devoted to the investigation of the ruins of this ancient city, which is forty leagues in a south-westerly direction from Tabasco, from whence he has made several excursions to explore them. A gentleman from New York, who has been at Tabasco and is acquainted with Dr. Corroy, states in a letter to the writer that “the doctor is a worthy man and hospitality is his motto.” Dr. Corroy's correspondence was first commenced with our late learned and distinguished countryman and member of this society, Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill, whose papers, books, and manuscripts were bequeathed to the writer. Among them are numerous letters on the antiquities of North America, but none of them detail facts so surprising as those relating to the ruins near Palenque, in Central America. The first letter to Dr. Mitchill, dated at Tabasco, 29th December, 1830, gives the information that Dr Corroy was constantly engaged in making researches and collecting materials from these interesting ruins, preserving and delineating those worthy of such care; among which were numerous idols, and one of an unknown substance, upon which he set a high value. Dr Corroy also states in this letter, that he had sent Dr. Mitchill, by the brig Eliza, of New York, a fragment of a sculptured head from the ruins, in size two French feet by one and a half. Dr. Mitchill was requested to satisfy his own curiosity with this piece of antiquity, and then forward it to Mr. Jomard, member of the Geographical Society of Paris. The brig Eliza having been lost by shipwreck, together with her cargo, the sculptured * ... as never received.